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Peter Beinart Responds

The author of the The Crisis of Zionism strikes back at criticism of his controversial new book about Israel and American Jews

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Peter Beinart’s False Prophecy

The Crisis of Zionism, his book arguing that the Israeli occupation alienates young American Jews, is sloppy with facts and emotionally contrived

Lightning Rod

Admired or reviled—but never ignored—how has Peter Beinart created a firestorm with well-worn ideas about Israel and American Jews?

When someone calls you “an angry ex” and an “angry scold” and says your book is an “act of moral solipsism” written in “a spirit of icy contempt and patent insincerity,” it is tough to know where to begin.

Indeed, much of Bret Stephens’ long and vitriolic review of my book, The Crisis of Zionism, in these pages is just invective. Stephens actually begins by attacking empathy. In response to my saying that Khaled Jaber, a Palestinian boy whose father was arrested for trying to bring water to his village, “could have been my son,” Stephens points out: “The connection to Beinart is that Beinart’s son also calls him Baba. That’s it.” Yes, that’s it. Watching a boy my son’s age—who calls his father the same name my son calls me—scream hysterically for his father, unjustly arrested by police from the Jewish state that I love, had a powerful effect on me. Am I supposed to apologize for that?

Stephens criticizes me for not flying out to meet the Jabers. “Nothing in The Crisis of Zionism,” he writes, “suggests that Beinart ever set foot outside of his study to write this book.” But Stephens is making a basic mistake about my book. Unlike Gershom Gorenberg’s recently published The Unmaking of Israel, which Stephens praises, my book is not primarily about Israel, but about American Jews and the relationship between the United States and Israel. Thus, in the sections on Israeli history and politics, I rely primarily on the work of Israeli experts. A reader of my footnotes will find citations of books by Dov Waxman on Israeli Arabs, Benny Morris on Israel’s War of Independence, Gorenberg on the growth of the settlements, Yaacov Shavit on Revisionist Zionism, Tom Segev on Israel’s early years, and numerous other academics, historians, and journalists, some of whom read chapters of The Crisis of Zionism and offered critiques.

But for the larger part of the book—about the politics of Israel in the United States—I most certainly did leave my study. In fact, I conducted dozens and dozens of interviews with people in the organized American Jewish world and in the Obama Administration. Surely Stephens knows this, because he got a Wall Street Journal column out of my reporting on Obama’s Jewish influences in Chicago. As a columnist and editorial writer who largely writes from his own armchair, he’s got a lot of chutzpah to bite the reportorial hand that feeds him.

Stephens makes much of my supposed errors “of omission.” He points out, for instance, that I quote former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami saying, “If I were a Palestinian, I would have rejected Camp David as well,” but that I don’t cite Ben-Ami’s description of Arafat as “morally, psychologically, physically incapable of accepting the moral legitimacy of a Jewish state, regardless of its borders or whatever.” Stephens then speculates that I must have gotten Ben-Ami’s quote from Steven Walt and John Mearsheimer’s book, The Israel Lobby, since apparently they use the same Ben-Ami quote that I do. That is absolutely untrue. I don’t cite Walt and Mearsheimer at all in The Crisis of Zionism for a simple reason: I didn’t read it as part of the research for my book. My footnotes explain exactly where I got Ben-Ami’s quote—from the Democracy Now interview where he said it.

Think about Stephens’ claim for a second. My footnotes say very clearly where I got the Ben-Ami quote. Stephens, without any evidence, essentially accuses me of lying in order to tie me to two writers widely loathed in Jewish circles whose book I have publicly criticized. And he’s questioning my intellectual honesty?

So, why didn’t I quote Ben-Ami’s attack on Arafat? Because it was irrelevant to my point. I wasn’t arguing that Arafat wanted to make peace. In fact, my book repeatedly condemns Arafat. I call him “corrupt and tyrannical” and say that there were good reasons to doubt he would budge on the Right of Return. Rather, I was arguing that then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s offer was not as generous as it is sometimes described by American Jews running major community organizations. To back up that claim, I quoted not just Ben-Ami, but also Aaron David Miller (President Clinton’s deputy special Middle East coordinator) and Martin Indyk (Clinton’s ambassador to Israel). If established centrists like these agree with me on Camp David—despite their views on Arafat—doesn’t that actually strengthen my argument?

Similarly, about my quotation of former Maj. Gen. Aharon Ze’evi-Farkash saying, “There is no longer an eastern front” (meaning that Israel no longer faces a serious threat of invasion from across the Jordan River), Stephens declares ominously that “there are, however, problems with this reference,” and continues:

You have to realize that the quote is at least eight years old, uttered when the United States appeared to be triumphant in Iraq. You have to realize that it is lifted with little context from a Brookings Institute report by Gal Luft, whose views on the matter are more-or-less the opposite of Beinart’s. You have to realize that Farkash has been outspoken in warning that an independent Palestinian state poses all kinds of security hazards to Israel. And you have to realize that even if Israel were to receive various security guarantees in a prospective peace deal with the Palestinians, it can have little confidence that those promises would be honored for very long.

Well, there are problems with the problems. First, most of the threats Farkash outlines concern threats from inside the West Bank—not the threat of outside invasion by Israel’s Arab neighbors. I address those concerns as well (actually in the very next paragraphs), but the Farkash quotation he cites comes at the end of a section discussing conventional threats from abroad, so Stephens’ jabs mostly amount to a red herring.

Further, Stephens’ implication that Israel is substantially more at risk of invasion from the east than it was in 2003 is puzzling. With Syria paralyzed by internal strife, and the Sunni Jordanian government (which has a peace treaty with Israel) alienated from Shia-led Iraq, why does Stephens think I’m wrong when I say that the threat of conventional attack across the Jordan River is low? He doesn’t say.

Reading Stephens’ review, you’d also never know that I quote the eminent Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld as saying, “Israel can easily afford to give up the West Bank. Strategically speaking, the risk of doing so is negligible.” And then I criticize him for being over-optimistic. I don’t, contra Stephens, argue that there aren’t security risks associated with a Palestinian state. I say explicitly that there are, but I argue that the risks of making the occupation permanent—and thus inviting a one-state struggle—are greater.

Even when Stephens lands a blow, it’s of the nitpicking variety. True, the footnote for my argument that the Israeli blockade crippled the Gazan economy mistakenly cites a 2003 IMF report rather than the 2008 report. But does anyone doubt that the blockade was an economic catastrophe for Gaza? According to John Ging, director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees, between June 2007 and April 2008, 90 percent of Gaza’s industrial companies closed.

Stephens goes on to argue that I’m wrong to suggest that since the easing of the boycott the Strip “remains a place of brutal suffering.” To support this, he cites New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, who said in July 2010, “Israel is correct when it denies that there is any full-fledged humanitarian crisis in Gaza.” Never mind that Kristof—in the exact same column—argues that “Israel should lift the siege altogether.” (Talk about quoting selectively.)

There’s no contradiction between Kristof and me: Gaza may not be experiencing a “full-fledged humanitarian crisis,” but it remains a place of “brutal suffering.” I chose those words carefully. Had Stephens not ripped that phrase out of context, readers would know that it refers to a 2011 report by the World Food Programme, which found that more than half of Gaza’s households are “food insecure,” which means they lack “access to sufficient food to meet their dietary needs.” Does Stephens deny the World Food Programme findings, which were what “brutal suffering” referred to? No, he doesn’t even acknowledge them.

Likewise with surveys. In the 2010 report by Brandeis’ Theodore Sasson, which claims to show that American Jews are not growing more distant from Israel, Stephens believes he’s found a “Fat Man” for my “Nagasaki.” But it pays to be skeptical of Stephens on WMDs. First of all, reading Stephens you’d think that Sasson and his colleagues were the first academics to ever study American Jewish distancing from Israel, and that I had been working off of anecdotal evidence until they came along to finally do some serious research.

That’s nonsense. Sasson’s isn’t the only study on American Jewish distancing; it’s just the only one Stephens gives any evidence of having read. Had Stephens studied the question carefully, he’d know that Steven M. Cohen—a preeminent scholar of American Jewish attitudes toward Israel—has been studying the distancing question since 1982. I cited one of his studies in my New York Review of Books piece in 2010, and cite several in The Crisis of Zionism. Sasson’s study challenges the conventional wisdom that Cohen helped forge: that American Jews are indeed growing more distant. But in 2010, when the journal Contemporary Jewry asked more than a dozen scholars their opinions, the predominant view was that Cohen was correct. Stephens gives no evidence of being familiar with the Contemporary Jewry special issue, either.

On the narrower question of why most scholars don’t agree with Sasson, it’s true that Sasson’s studies do include some Jews who don’t identify by religion (a cohort that tends to be more distant from Israel). I misread an essay by Ariela Keysar, a demographer and the study director of the American Jewish Identity Survey of 2001, who wrote in her critique of other distancing studies, “AJIS 2001 remains useful despite its age, because unlike other studies cited in the [Cohen and Sasson] papers, it covers all Jews, including those with no religion.”

So no, Sasson’s report didn’t study only Jews who identify by religion. But it did radically oversample them: Non-religious Jews (also known as “ethnic” or “cultural” Jews) make up roughly 12 percent of Sasson’s respondents, but in 2008, 37 percent of American Jews identified by ethnicity alone—and that number is growing. Since cultural Jews have a weak attachment to Israel, tripling their representation (to reflect the realities of American Jewry) would have resulted in a very different study. That discrepancy helps explain why Sasson’s findings place him in the scholarly minority.

Stephens quotes Sasson as saying, “Political differences on the liberal-to-conservative continuum were unrelated to measures of attachment to Israel.” From this he concludes: “Liberal as American Jews might be when it comes to domestic U.S. politics, on Israel their views tend to be fairly conservative.” But that leap requires conflating attachment to Israel and agreement with Israeli governmental policy. And no less than Theodore Sasson cautions against doing this:

Notwithstanding the lack of relationship between ideology and attachment, the present study showed that respondents’ general political orientations played a large role in their perspectives on virtually all policy issues related to Israel. … Political ideology was also a decisive factor in assessments of President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s handling of the U.S.-Israel relationship and with respect to opinions about the future of the West Bank and Jerusalem.

In another distortion, Stephens claims that “just 26 percent of even liberal Jews think Israel should dismantle all of [the settlements]; among moderates, the figure drops to 10 percent.” This sounds damning, until you remember that no final status agreement contemplated thus far has included the dismantling of all the settlements; nearly everyone agrees there will be land swaps. When you remember that, the statistics look pretty different. Fifty-seven percent of liberal American Jews support dismantling all or some of the settlements as part of a peace deal, while only 13 percent support dismantling none. In fact, when you factor out the 28 percent of the sample who answered “don’t know” (Stephens ignored them), you find that liberal American Jews support giving up settlements by about four to one. Even when you include the moderates and conservatives, Sasson’s sample still favors dismantling settlements, 46 percent to 28 percent.

It’s worth noting that prominent commentators who share Stephens’ political views agree with me that younger American Jews are distancing from Israel. “There is ample evidence of a general decline in American Jewish identification with Israel,” writes the right-leaning Jack Wertheimer of the Jewish Theological Seminary in the Contemporary Jewry special issue. “Generationally speaking,” Stephens claims, “there even seems to be a rightward tilt among younger Jews.” I’ll let him explain that to the well-known Israeli commentator Daniel Gordis, president of the conservative Shalem Foundation, whose June 2011 Commentary article “Are Young Rabbis Turning on Israel?” bemoaned “weakening Zionist loyalties” among American rabbinical students—surely the most affiliated of young American Jews—“who are increasingly distanced from Israel.” Gordis went on to ask, “What has happened to this generation of young rabbinical students? Why are their instincts so different from those of my generation?”

Finally, there is Stephens’ struggle with himself over whether to call me an anti-Semite:

In 2003, in connection to the late historian Tony Judt’s own contribution to the anti-Israel oeuvre of the New York Review of Books, Leon Wieseltier of the New Republic observed that characterizing anti-Semitic acts as a response to something Jews did doesn’t explain anti-Semitism. It reproduces it. I’m tempted to accuse Beinart of doing the same thing here. I won’t. But Beinart should at least trouble himself to wonder, as Wieseltier also suggested, why the same logic doesn’t apply to other minorities. For example, would Beinart object to an argument that African-Americans are at least partly responsible for white racism because they commit a disproportionate share of violent crime in the United States? Let’s hope he would.

I admire Stephens’ restraint, but not his logic. In the quotation of mine that directly precedes this paragraph, I say, “There is, of course, real anti-Semitism in today’s Middle East. But by too often ascribing criticism of Israel to a primordial hatred of Jews, American Jewish leaders fail to grapple with Israel’s own role in its mounting isolation.” The only way that statement can be interpreted as attributing anti-Semitism to Jewish actions is if you assume, a priori, that the criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic. It’s a circular argument.

Over and over in his piece, Stephens hammers the point that Palestinians want to kill Jews, and that their violent rejectionism is what prevents peace. There’s some truth to that; that’s why in the book, I call Arafat’s role in the second intifada “a crime.” But Stephens claims, “The very thought that Palestinians need not celebrate suicide bombers or cheer the murder of Jewish children seems never to have crossed Beinart’s mind.” He must think I’m an idiot. Not only did I describe in grisly detail the horrific murders of the Fogel family in the Jewish settlement of Itamar in March 2011, I explicitly said that during Oslo, “Palestinian leaders had not done nearly enough to stop the terrorism that traumatized Israel. At times, in fact, they had actively abetted it.” So, yes, it has crossed my mind.

After ignoring my repeated criticisms of Palestinian leaders, Stephens wrongly accuses me of denying Palestinians moral agency by, well, not criticizing Palestinian leaders. But let’s turn the question around: How much moral agency does Stephens grant Israel? Does he grapple at all with the moral problems inherent in holding millions of West Bank Palestinians as non-citizens for 44 years? Does he concede that subsidizing Israelis to move to the West Bank—including to settlements deep in the West Bank—is self-defeating if you believe in a two-state solution? No, he ignores those uncomfortable questions almost entirely.

If we want Palestinians to take responsibility for their actions, we must ask Israel to do the same. One of the central arguments of The Crisis of Zionism is that the American Jewish establishment has not found an authentically Jewish language in which to discuss the ethical responsibilities of power. Stephens’ review illustrates the point all too well.

Raphael Magarik and Elisheva Goldberg helped with the research for this piece.


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Peter you are boring. Trying to uphold your own disingenuous attitude is sad. You side with modern day Nazis who wish to commit genocide against the Jews. No amount of convoluted reasoning will support your position.

Shalom Freedman says:

Beinart does not understand the Palestinian Arabs at all. There is not a single real peacemaker among them. The leadership of Fatah , the supposed moderates, is dominated by people who are more Islamist than in any way secular democrats seeking true peace for two peoples.
Worse than this he in a quite ugly fashion accuses Israel repeatedly of ‘occupation’. He dismisses the repeated and continual efforts of Israeli leaders, backed by the great majority of Israelis to find Peace.
He who never lived in Israel , who did not go to its Army is calling for the boycott of people who give their lives to the country. Shame on him.

rlgordonma says:

Independent Patriot, is there such a thing as “grey blindness”? Because if there is, you have it. I for one do not think that Zionist BDS is a good idea, but an even worse idea is to associate people like Beinart who clearly care about Israel’s future with “modern day Nazis.” Your use of the term makes me wonder how serious a person you are, despite your manly name and all.

Beth says:

Why is Tablet wasting space on this pathetic, self-hating provocateur? We went through this 35 years ago with Breira before they faded away; why recycle the same nonsense now?

Marco says:

Thanks to Beinart for responding to Stephens’ polemic. He rightfully points out that the anguish in the American Jewish community about Israel stems largely from “the moral problems inherent in holding millions of West Bank Palestinians as non-citizens for 44 years” and the clear reluctance of successive Israeli governments (with some exceptions) to engage in meaningful negotiations for a reasonable settlement of the conflict and the establishment of a separate state for Palestinians. Instead, Israeli policy seems focused on expanding settlements in the West Bank and appropriating more Palestinian land for settlers to build housing or roads to travel (exclusively) on, making the liklihood of a viable separate Palestinian state more remote.

Shira Hadasha says:

Bravo, Peter Beinart. Good response to the review.

Israel has enough enemies, your vocal criticism if Israel when it faces violent anti-semites is bewildering. But sometimes the greatest enemies of the Jews are often Jewish.

By the way, the Palestinians do not want to be Israeli citizens because they are already de facto Jordanian where they already have a state and a queen, time to move if you are so unhappy.

For a great, challenging and civil interview with Beinart in which the interviewer does not pull punches, and in which Beinart does not pull punches, see:

Scott says:

“So, why didn’t I quote Ben-Ami’s attack on Arafat? Because it was irrelevant to my point.”

What if Ben-Ami’s quote should properly be understood as, “If I were morally, psychologically, physically incapable of accepting the moral legitimacy of a Jewish state, regardless of its borders or whatever, I would have rejected Camp David as well?” Perhaps he was saying that any Palestinian with a minimum of self-respect would have rejected the Camp David offer, but the excised quote would have provided the suggestion that the alternative is a distinct possibility. If the alternative understanding is the proper understanding then the quote shows nothing about the lack of generosity in the offer.

As for the other quotes cited, is it possible that the other figures simply fail to realize that Arafat’s real objective was to extinguish Jewish self-determination, but knowing that he can’t ask the West for that, he asked for what the West would deem reasonable but would give him the means to achieve what he really wanted?

guest says:

Beinart to world: I”s all about me!

It’s not about teh rights of Israelis, or the rights of Palestinians, or anybody in the actual land of Israel.

It’s all about me, ME, ME!!

Scott says:

“why does Stephens think I’m wrong when I say that the threat of conventional attack across the Jordan River is low?”

The problem with that line of reasoning is that giving the Palestinians the Jordan Valley would turn the entire Jordan River into another Phillipi corridor. The Phillipi corridor has not contributed to any conventional threats facing Israel, but if Israel occupied the border between Gaza and Egypt, would Hamas and PIJ have rockets to fire at Ashkelon? Would the loss of the Jordan Valley be any comparable detraction from the emergence of a Palestinian state, particularly noting that aside from Jericho hardly anyone lives there?

Must support Beinart’s assessment of, if not prescription for, Jewish alienation from Israel.

Marc R says:

Having read many many reviews of Beinart’s book, one thing they all have in common is that they claim that Beinart pays scant attention or even ignores Palestinian crimes and rejectionism.

Beinart routinely responds by saying that he calls Arafat’s actions a “crime” and other things of that nature.

It’s apparent that all of the reviewers read Beinart’s book, yet they all seem to have missed Beinart’s denunciations of Palestinian actions.

So is it possible that although Beinart put in these pro forma denunciations of Palestinians, his criticisms of Israel so greatly exceed them that they become nearly invisible?

In othe words, is Beinart technically fair but considerably unbalanced? That appears to be the case.

You can see it in all his “but” sentences. Like “Sure Iran has threatened to wipe Israel off the map, but being in the west bank makes that argument more understandable.” Beinart acknowledges a grave problem, but does not let the gravity sink in.

Scott says:

Shalom Freedman: “Beinart does not understand the Palestinian Arabs at all. There is not a single real peacemaker among them.”

Without a key qualification, Freedman’s statement is completely wrong. There is not a single real peacemaker among the Palestinian _who has any real power_. As long as the international intelligentsia insists on shunning the Palestinians who have no power, none among their ranks who are real peacemakers will ever have a chance of emerging into a position of power.

Freedman is right in his description of Fatah. However, once the international community stops acquiescing to Fatah’s practice of only allowing opposition on the basis of rejecting Oslo, a good-faith negotiating partner would be able angle for leadership within the Palestinian community. Why is everyone so concerned about the lack of progress in ending the occupation so unconcerned about freedom for Palestinian peacemakers?

Good response from Beinart, but he left out a pretty important element: how on earth did a mag like Tablet, which generally fosters debate, come up with a notorious hack like Stephens for a review of this book? Pretty shameless pot-stirring it seems.

“But sometimes the greatest enemies of the Jews are often Jewish.”

Do tell. Sometimes, but often. Could it be that the greatest enemies of the Jews are often Jewish when they happen to be Jews who disagree with what I think about the Jews? But not otherwise. I’m thinking it’s about exactly that often.

Baba Wawa says:

Thank G-d for Stephens or Beinart wouldn’t be sweating it out right now. His book is crap, and he knows it. And now the rest of us know it too.

Kudos to Beinart on taking Bret Stephens down a few pegs. I couldn’t understand for the life of me why Tablet permitted a glaringly amateur (and dangerously dull in his conformity to conservative idiocy) hack like Stephens to review Beinart’s book in its page.

Jules says:

I read an excerpt of “The Crisis of Zionism” online yesterday and I’m going to buy a copy of it at the bookstore today. Looking forward to reading it. Thanks.

esthermiriam says:

Stephens’ only claim to fame was a WSJ piece so outrageous that it necessitated the first joint statement by APN, NIF and J Street:
Perhaps it was ultimately useful that Beinart had to take the time and make the effort to respond to his review, but there might have been a much better way for Tablet to contribute to the needed discussion of the issues involved.

Gene says:

Peter lives on the land which was at some point “illegally” expropriated from the native population. Therefore before demanding from the others to give away the land they live on he should start from himself: take the key from his house and give it to the “true owners”. If he does not know where to find them I can give him directions to the nearest reservation. Then, and only then, he may start to teach others how to be righteous.

Jerry Von Senfeld says:

Did not read this book, but I know Bret Stevens and he’s usually right. Never heard of this Beinhart and don’t care to know this apologist or his concocted thesis.

Herb says:

Bret Stephens offered a detailed and substantive critique of Beinart’s book. Anyone with an ability to think could have seen that. But note that the left wingers contributing to this offer nothing but, to quote the oleaginous, dissemblng Beinart, invective aimed at Bret Stephens. So to sling it back: Stephens is to Beinart as sirloin is to pink slime. How is that for invective?

Thanks to Eli for posting this link. He’s right. A good discussion about these issues.

Matthew says:

Great response, Mr. Beinart. We need minds like yours to help guide the way for young American Jews!

Keep on fighting the good fight!

You know what? Beinart gives Stephens way too much respect by dismantling his critic point by point. I was awestruck at Stephens’s strident, hollow, reflexive piece. The attitude of American Jews toward Israel is a complex and evolving topic that merits the serious examination Beinart offers, not the bs screed that Stephens served up. Bravo, Mr. Beinart, for having the courage and skill to produce your work. Shame on you, Mr. Stephens, for taking the lazy — not to mention nasty — way out.

esthermiriam, Stephens has one other famous resume line: the two years he spent running the Jerusalem Post into the ground (among other things, he forced the paper to make Paul Wolfowitz – an American – its person of the year.) soon as he got a lukewarm offer from WSJ he jumped ship. he’s universally loathed there, as rightly he should be. he’s only kept a job by playing stenographer to whatever neocons happens to be controlling their media and thinktanks at the moment.

Informed Commentary says:

I am awestruck by Peter’s new book, the Crisis of Narcissim. It gives neocons and their allies something to chew on! I will buy five copies and distribute them at the next Park Slope Food Co-op meeting I attend.

I am also shocked at Stephen’s blindness to Beinart’s intellect. Stephens is clearly a hack who is damaging the Jewish world, Tablet deserves to be shut down, and Marty Peretz stinks, while we’re at it!

Yishai says:

I think Jerry Von Senfeld just about sums it up when it comes to the vitriol directed against Beinart: “Didn’t read it…don’t care…Bret Stephens is usually right.” What a absurd and sad response. If this is the level of discourse (and I suspect, given what I’ve read in the comments here, that even if others are more verbose their level of engagement is about as sophisticated as Jerry’s), it is more imperative that we share Beinart’s sincere and well-meaning concern for Israel than he knows. To paraphrase an old saying, God save our homeland from its doctrinaire and unreflective supporters.

For Zlota says:

Hard to tell whether comments on this thread are genuine or engineered, sort of like the comments generated by Ron Paul articles. Weird.

I second Eli’s recommendation of the very skillful interview of Beinart on Shalom It was edifying and passionate and gave us plenty of room to think through, pro and con, his ideas. Although the unease of many here is understandable, the hateful smears of Beinart and above all the refusal to respond in substance to his arguments (for example, his ideas for restarting peace talks) is shameful. I don’t think this mob mentality will turn The Tablet into a dogmatic rag (eg., Foxnation, but it is unsettling.

Zlota, I have no idea what you mean. Who is engineering what here? I am genuine–and as a rule (sadly, perhaps), more genuine than right.

Lillian Turchin says:

This foolish Beinart: methinks he doth protest too much.

For Zlota says:

It just feels like some perspectives, such as Beinart’s, are pushed with an urgency that curiously seems like hard sales tactics, are they selling a vacuum….. so to speak?

I’m waiting for the coupon offer, buy one state, get the second one for free, or you’re going to die. Limited time only, no guarantees, no returns, no redemption.

Paul articles get similar ardent supporters, or so it seems to me. I’ve read they are called paulbots.

Maybe it’s more like a cult thing?

Herb says:

Beinart and the left are beyond absurd. They live in a world of illusion, and that is the most generous interpretation. Everything Beinart says has been discredited by history and by what is going on at the present time, but these people don’t want to be bothered by history and reality. And heaven forbid the thought that there may really be evil people on the other side with evil intentions.
Israel pulled out of large portions of the West Bank and they pulled out of Gaza entirely. What exactly was the response to obvious peace overtures? The propaganda, incitement, intransigence, and hatred of the Palestinians towards Israel and towards Jews has ample documentation. Israel conceded Gaza with nothing given in return, and they offered 95% of the West Bank. The response was rockets and suicide bombers. So what we see now is that even most naive Israeli leftists have given up on appeasing the Palestinians, the Syrians, and so on. The more concessions the Israelis made, the more casualties it suffered.
On top of that, we see radical Islam growing by leaps and bounds, and their intentions are genocidal. There is no interpretation necessary. They tell us openly, and they are slowly taking over the entire Arab Middle East. So who is there to negotiate with? What is it that some of you don’t get? What has happened is so obvious that you would have to be quite the dolt to go on in the way that Beinart and his supporters go on. Sad to say, there are a lot of dolts who wouldn’t know reality if it ran them over in a ten ton truck.

Hershl says:

Beinart is now the laughing stock of the Jewish world thanks to his propensity to stick his foot in his mouth.

He is his own worst enemy.

I just love the fact that his op-ed in the NY Times, which totally trashed Israel and displayed the most self-hating traits of an angry, pathetic misfit, appeared in the same issue that featured the Muslim terrorist attack on the Jewish school in France.

We didn’t even have to wait one day to see the results of Beinart’s venom against all Jews.

The man is a modern American kapo.

Let him join the Israel hater’s hall of fame along with others like Michael pseudo rabbi Lerner, Amy Goodman and the notorious Noam Chomsky.

Good riddance to all of them.

George says:

In a hundred years nobody will know or remember who Beinart was. For the present, he is one of the many delusionals,both Jew and non-Jew, who fail to understand the conflict is for the arabs and moslem society at large, a conflict rooted in Islamic theology. It’s not about land because it was never a problem in past history when the ruling powers were Egyptian moslems or Tirkish moslems. Only when the Jews regained control did it become a problem for the arab and Islamic world. It’s not about Jerusalem, it’s not about settlements. It’s about Jews ruling moslems in the heart of the Dar al Islam.

And that, my friends, is a fact of Life which, strangely, the Beinarts of this world don’t comprehend.

I read through all the comments waiting for a logical factual argument that engages Beinart’s thesis and refutes it. **crickets**

Jacob says:

One wonders if Beinart can imagine what would have happened, if, immediately after Israel left the Gaza strip, all terror activity from there ceased. Which means, no rocket launching, no weapons smuggling, no efforts to bomb the border crossing points, no efforts to send suicide murderers into Israel. Then, all the crossing points would have remained open, there would have been free merchandise exchange, thousands of Gazans would have been able to work in Israel. It would have been possible to travel between the West Bank and Gaza. Also, this would have made further Israeli withdrawals from the West Bank much easier.
But, as Beinart knows very well, the Palestinians chose to continue with their terror activity, firing thousands rockets at Israel’s villages and towns. That is why Israel had to re respond accordingly.
The economic catastrophe in Gaza is the direct result of the policy and actions of the Palestinian rulers in Gaza.

delia ruhe says:

For what it’s worth, Peter, I really appreciated your book. I like its tone, and I like your focus on justice — which used to be a central Jewish value.

But get used to this kind of crap-reviewing. There are lots of hasbara-fed people out there with access to the media.

Moshe says:

Peter is the smartest boy in his class, no wait – in the whole school. His Mommy told him that…..

Jehudah Ben-Israel says:

Let us define the subject: Zionism.

Zionism is first and foremost the affinity of the Jewish people as a people, and that of each member of the people, to Zion, also known as Jerusalem. This strong affinity has been in existence ever since the Jewish king, King David, set up Zion/Jerusalem more than 3,000 years ago as the spiritual and the administrative center of the Jewish kingdom, and has included the city of Jerusalem as well as the country at the center of which Zion is located.

In the 19th century, Zionism has taken an added dimension: 1) The ingathering of those Jews not residing in Eretz Israel (Land of Israel) back home. 2) The re-instituting of Jewish sovereignty in Eretz Israel. 3) The re-vitalizing the civilization of the Jewish people, Judaism.

The above three goals were to be achieved peacefully through the use of the powers and the laws that are, and with as much cooperation of the local non-Jewish population. In this sense, Zionism has transformed itself into the non-violent (not pacifist, mind you!!) national liberation movement of the Jewish people.

Zionism has indeed achieved the in-gathering of most Jews back to the Jewish people’s homeland of Eretz Israel. It has succeeded in the re-establishment of Jewish sovereignty in the Jewish people’s homeland whose character is not only the nation-state of the Jewish people but also a liberal democratic one. And, it has managed to make a great contribution to the revitalizing of Jewish civilization, and first and foremost element of it has been the reviving of the Jewish national language, Hebrew, as the daily spoken language of millions of Jews, and the language of journalism, literature and research.

It anything, we, Jews, should celebrate the achievements of Zionism, and in the process, enlist to enhance its achievements.

Jehudah Ben-Israel says:

If Beinart were the manifestation of liberal Jewish American intellectual pursuit, one feels sad about the shallowness of such a class of people, to say the very least.

I wish to make reference only to one element that Beinart and his ilks represent: the total ignorance of the historic and legal foundation of the liberal democratic independent nation-state of the Jewish people.

Never, never have this poster heard or read, uttered or written by Beinard type people about the 4,000 years of uninterrupted Jewish presence in the Jewish people’s homeland; or, about the fact that of all the sojourns, peoples and conquerors who have passed through Eretz Israel (Land of Israel) during this period, the only constant has been the Jewish people.

This historic background of the Jewish people and its affinity to Jerusalem/Zion and the country at the center of which it is located for more than 3,000 years; the cradle of Jewish civilization, i.e. Judaism, has been the justification for the ethical right of the Jewish people, as recognized by the international community, to exercise the universally accepted right of all peoples of national self-determination and independence in the Jewish people’s homeland.

And, it has been these historic and ethical rights of our people to have been the basis for the legal right afforded the Jewish people by the San Remo Conference, 1920; the League of Nations, 1922; and finally, the United Nations that adopted the League of Nations’ decisions of 1922 and enshrined them in the UN Charter, Article 80, as an irrevocable act.

The right, in short, is the setting up of “the national home of the Jewish people” and only of the Jewish people in that part of “Palestine” – a territory, not a nationality or a state of course – that is located between the Jordan River and the Med. Sea with full right of Jews to settle there at will.

Jehudah Ben-Israel says:

P.S. Isn’t it high time the Beinarts of the American Jewish community became familiar with Jewish history, including the legal aspect of it, when they attempt to convey the impression of using facts and rationale to promote their political agenda that is presently largely based on “narratives”, i.e. fictional short stories designed for political expediency…??!!

Jehudah Ben-Israel says:

P.P.S. One wonders, are there family and/or intellectual relationships between Richard (Muhammad) Goldstone and Mr. Peter (Abbas) Beinart? Both are originally from South Africa, but is this the only connection between the two…??

Landon Parvin, Jr. says:

Jehuda Ben-Israel is the ZOA’s point man – paid by the word, obviously!-assigned to surveill Jewish publication blog threads (esp. the FORWARD) and infect them with ZOA/revisionist propaganda – and, of course, take names for future action. He is a documented liar: on FORWARD threads, among other things, he has lied about the Balfour Declaration and even Hebrew philology. And while presenting himself as this super-Jew, he even posted there on ROSH HASHANAH.
The juvenile name -calling (his March 31, 8:55 posting ) is straight out of Mort Klein’s playbook.
Traitor Jonathan Pollard is JBI’s personal hero.

Jerry Marcus says:

Yasher Koach, Matthew and Landon!
Clearly Mr. Beinart cleaned Stephens’ clock in his point-by-point rebuttal. The fact that the likes of BabaWawa, Indie Patootie, Jerry von Scheiss, Moshe (Pipik), & Boobsey Twins Herb and Herschl
can’t see that, demonstrates the power of ideological bias untethered to reality. That is what happens when you have your shiny brown proboscis deeply embedded in
Meir Kahane’s tuchus.

Landon Parvin, Jr. says:

It is also worth noting that while disseminating verbosely ZOA boilerplate
and commenting at length (in a racist way) on the American presidential elections in his voluminous FORWARD postings, Jehuda ben Israel has been deafeningly silent on matters such as charedi pedophilia and black-hat mistreatment of women. Just like Mort Klein, who claims to be an Orthodox Jew.

Danielah says:

Mr. Landon Pavin, Jr. and Mr. Jerry Marcus (both seem to be one and the same person of course), Mr. Ben-Israel wrote two long and very thoughtful posts. Wouldn’t it be the right thing to do to reply to their content if you disagree with him, rather than to the person who wrote them, whom, I suspect, you probably know nothing about?

I look forward to your observation of Mr. Ben-Israel’s description of Zionism, one that meets, by the way, what I have known of it since my early Jewish education in Halifax (Canada).

And, of course, I look forward to your observation of his views of the Beinarts of the Jewish community of North American.

Thank you very kindly,
Halifax, NS Canada

Debra says:

I wish more American Jews had Peter Beinart’s courage. I’m so tired of everyone reflexively shouting “self-hating” and “anti semite” the moment one utters even the slightest criticism of Israel. Peter Beinart is anything but a self hating Jew. He is a breath of fresh air, and a highly intelligent one at that. Like it or not, there are many American Jews who do care deeply about Israel but don’t blindly defend every action Israel takes. That does not mean that they are self hating! And the ad hominem attacks on Mr. Beinart in the comments above are further examples of the closed minds of many. Instead of intelligently discussing the issues and ideas raised in his book–which, clearly, most have not even read– these commenters have resorted to calling him names. Instead of this defensive, knee-jerk hotheaded reaction, perhaps a bit of thoughtful discourse would be more appropriate? Name calling and hyperbole will never foster a productive dialogue.

Jehudah Ben-Israel says:

“I wish more American Jews had Peter Beinart’s courage”, as this will bring about Israel’s demise faster.

It is enough to know that Beinart thinks that Obama is America’s first Jewish president. That alone is enough to discredit him as a thinker worth bothering about. If you agree with him, so be it. There is nothing that anyone can say to someone who thinks like this.

George says:

‘Over and over in his piece, Stephens hammers the point that Palestinians want to kill Jews, and that their violent rejectionism is what prevents peace. There’s some truth to that; that’s why in the book, I call Arafat’s role in the second intifada “a crime.”’

LOL! There’s ‘SOME’ truth to that? Like a woman is a ‘LITTLE’ bit pregnant? Surely to even acknowledge as Beinart does, with such obvious reluctance,the intransigent arab hostility to a Jewish homeland, and yet to still hold forth on the illusion of a ‘lasting’ peace,qualifies as a mental disconnect of immense proportions.

Bernard says:

It has been said before, but it must be said again, having read parts of the book and this whole response by the author: With such friends, who needs enemies!

Debra says

Debra unless you have a big problem with english comprehension it’s very apparent the defensive, knee jerk reaction typifies the Beinart defenders, Including you. Take your own advice and try to intelligently discuss the issues. Assuming you have the background and information to accomplish such a critique.

Jeremy says:

Peter, from a non-partisan librarian, who loves seeing complicated subjects discussed by smart people – thank you for patiently addressing your critics’ arguments even though they are often flung at you in the most hateful ways. As a gentile, I guess I can’t imagine how sensitive of a subject this is, but it is disappointing to see how hateful and unproductive the majority of complaints against you are. Also, it’s simply bizarre to see a Jew who clearly cares deeply about Judaism and Israel called an anti-Semite (and a Nazi, according to the first commenter), because he disagrees with the current leadership of Israel. If Hillel or Maimonides were around today, they’d probably get a good chuckle out of that, and I have no doubt whose side they would be on in this discussion.

Michael says:

Jehudah, Israel is first and foremost a country, and like EVERY OTHER country, it is subject to criticisms for its misdeeds. Peter never talks about destroying Israel, he simply says that you are holding the Palestinians under a military occupation (which you are) and refuse them many of the rights that you give Israelis (which you do). The only decent things to do would be to either annex the West Bank and offer full Israeli citizenship to the Palestinians there, with all the rights that come along with it, or to give the West Bank its independence so that they can decide their rights for themselves.

Oh, and in regards to one of your earlier posts, Israel contains a MINORITY of the world’s Jews. Out of 14 million, only 6 of those live in Israel.

Jehudah Ben-Israel says:

“Peter never talks about destroying Israel…”.

One need not talk about that which his actions are designed to lead to!!

What you Peter refuse to realize is the fact that what Israel does or doesn’t do is well within the context of international law and bilateral agreements between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

But, his eagerness to experience instant gratification, he practically spit at that which is legal and on the basis of which matters are conducted.

Perhaps, instead of blaming Israel, you dear author should demand of Israel’s counterparts to come to the negotiating table and talk peace.

But, of course, living in the US, Mr. Beinart considers that to be a “tribal” demand. And, for the sake of what he considers “justice” he is willing to place the six million Jews of Israel at harm’s way…

This, Sir, is an act of advancing Israel’s demise!!

Jehudah Ben-Israel says:

P.S. One wonders, has Mr. Beinhart has ever considered the following response to a fellow poster:

“…Arabs rejected peace…”

Let us not go back, if you don’t wish to do so, to 1920, or to 1922, or to 1937, or to 1947 and 1948, or to 1967, or to 1978. Let us simply start the number of times the Muslim-Arabs, local and regional, rejected peace offers and opportunities presented to them since the present peace process commenced, with the Madrid peace conference of 1991:

1) Rabin’s Contour for Peace, 1995, rejected

2) Barak’s peace offer, 2000, rejected

3) Sharon’s peace gesture, 2005, rejected

4) Olmert’s peace offer, 2008, rejected

5) Netanjahu’s offer of direct negotiations, 2009 to present, rejected

And, of interest, each of the rejections was accompanied by a new wave of terror, part of the war-of-attrition-through-terror against the Jewish community of the country that commenced in 1920 and is yet to cease.

Need one add more…?? Need one ask Mr. Beihart why he refuses to address this pattern of rejections…??

George says:

‘If Hillel or Maimonides were around today, they’d probably get a good chuckle out of that, and I have no doubt whose side they would be on in this discussion.’

Please take it from someone who is quite familiar with the lives and writings of both Hillel and Maimonides that your enlisting their memories in the Beinart camp is beyond stupid and reveals a total lack of knowledge on both these men’s lives and their attachment to their faith and history.

To reprise an old saying from my long ago Bronx boyhood,slightly altered to fit the conversation’. ‘If brains were dynamite,there isn’t enough intelligence in the pro-Beinart comments to blow your nose.’

Jules says:

Debra, thanks for you comments I completely agree with you.

Roni says:

It’s no secret the most anti-arab segment of israel population are the mizrahis. the jews who came from arab countries.They experience firsthand what the reality of arab-jew relations were. Liberal american jews are living in another world, a theoretical world where anything can be resolved peacefully. My grandfather who was born in morocco and barely escaped with his life always laughed at the people who think the conflict is simply a matter that can be solved by a few land transfers. He and the vast majority of mizrahis know the arabs want it all, the very existence of Israel is a slap in the face of islam.

chet380 says:

With respect to American Jewry, it appears that there is a growing divide – the older generation who believe Israel can do no wrong and that all Palestinians are worthless scum (well-represented in these comments) and the younger generation who are unwilling to unfailingly accept the propaganda and “truths” about Israel’s actions and policies vis-a-vis the Palestinians.

Because Peter Beinart speaks for the younger generation and has universally-accepted intellectual credentials, he has infuriated those who are absolutely unwilling to accept any criticism regarding Israel. Instead of countering his arguments with reasoned counter-arguments, his opponents rely on distortions, outright lies, straw-man arguments and, of course, ultimately the ad hominem attacks – “self-hating Jew”, Israel-hating Jew”, etc., etc.

Instead of wasting time reading criticisms and counter-criticisms, please take the opportunity to view Rabbi Golub’s interview of Mr. Beinart on Shalom TV and decide for yourselves.

Jeremy says:

George – I brought up Hillel because of his quote, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow.” If you can somehow twist that so that Israel’s government is abiding by it, I’d love to see that explained.

I brought Maimonides up because he was not afraid of questioning the current authorities, and he used logic to dismantle them.

But, I admit it was stupid to bring up long dead people and say what side they were on. Sorry about that, it wasn’t helpful.

George says:

Jeremy-Yes, on a person-to-person level all the soothing sayings preaching peace, love and harmony resonate within all of us. However, the arab-Israeli conflict exists in the realm of long-established religious and cultural ideology.It is not a simple matter of individual Jews reaching out to individual arabs or vice-versa and repeating the mantra let’s be friends. It’s all about the 1500 year old ground zero animus of Islam towards Jews and the responsibility of Israel towards its citizens in dealing with that animus. So, yes, on a personal level, Hillel’s advice is praiseworthy. In the context of the arab-israeli conflict, your outstretched hand as a Jew is just as likely to earn you a knife in the back instead of a reciprocating gesture.

‘If I am not for myself, who will be for me?’


As for Maimonides, he was a man who lived under Islam, experienced the many tragedies whichit inflicted on his fellow Jews and in the end, forced him to flee Spain. To think that man like himself, who lived and breathed his Judaism and who suffered under Islam, would throw his lot in with the Beinarts of his time or the present day, is idiocy.

Jeremy says:

“What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow” seems pretty attainable to me – both for governments and individuals. And, the two rules can certainly be applied to most situations, i.e. you can be for yourself and not do things to others that you wouldn’t want done to you. For instance, you can have defend Israel and not build settlements on occupied land.

Again, it was silly to bring up a dead person and guess what he would think today, but to think Maimonides would be completely uncritical towards Israel doesn’t seem right to me. But, I defer to you on that one.

Jehudah Ben-Israel says:

“…settlements…”, again.

The essence of the Arab Israeli conflict is not now and has never been a question of “settlements”.

This is a conflict that, in its violent form, commenced in April 1920, some 28 years prior to the proclamation of Israel as an independent state, and nearly half a century prior to Israel’s capture the now disputed territories.

Indeed, all of the major wars that Israel had to fight – all incidentally initiated by the Muslim-Arab world – started long before “settlements” were even in existence in the disputed parts of the country.

Indeed, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was set up in 1964, three full years prior to the Six Day War. Which part of “Palestine” was this organization to “liberate” at the time…??

The essence of the conflict is one: the categorical refusal by the Muslim-Arabs – not by the Christian-Arabs or Druze-Arabs, mind you!! – to accept Israel’s RIGHT to be, to exist on ANY parcel of land that is the Jewish people’s homeland and that has been designated by international law as such.

It is not by coincident that the PLO’s leadership has categorically refused to accept Israel’s right to exist as the INDEPENDENT NATION-STATE OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE, and that it totally rejected the idea that a peace treaty – note, please, a peace treaty – will be considered the end of the conflict and the end of all future demands.

Some among us need to go home and do some homework about the subject, instead of relying on “narratives”, fictional short stories designed for political expediency, and among them, clearly Mr. Beinhart himself.

Jeremy says:

Do you think 18 year-old Palestinians care about what happened in 1920? Or that they should be held responsible for their ancestors not accepting peace when they had a chance? Because different things were once at the root of the conflict does not mean that settlements are not an impediment to peace now. And, by the way, most people who say that settlements are a problem are not excusing hostile things to the peace process done by Palestinians. It’s just that it seems clear to nearly everyone on earth that the settlements are a giant poke in the eye to the Palestinians.

George says:

Jeremy, there’s nothing different about what is at the root of the conflict. It’s the same in 2012 as it was in 1947 as it was in 1920.Why is that so difficult for you to understand? Is it because to acknowledge that the real agenda of all arabs is to dismantle the nation of Israel effectively makes all your ‘arguments’ the excercises in futility that they appear to be to so many taking part in this discussion?

Jeremy says:

“the real agenda of all arabs is to dismantle the nation of Israel” If you truly believe this, then I can understand how it must enrage you for others to think of Palestinians in human terms.

Let’s cut to the chase. Beinart and others of his ilk are simply opportunistic jackals who smell blood and believe they have identified easy prey in Israel. In this sense, they are the Western, pseudo-intellectual counterparts of the Arab states who have been trying to extirpate a Jewish sovereign since 1948.

There is not another country or another people in history that would not have taken far more odious measures against enemies bent on destroying the state and exterminating their citizens. What other victor in a series of defensive wars sues for peace? Absurd!

If the Jews of Israel are guilty of anything, it’s that they have been far too willing to concede territory, legal rights enshrined in international law, and the relentless propaganda war waged against them by the likes of Beinart and others hostile to a Jewish sovereign.

As the implications of BDS campaigns, western elites embracing antisemitic tropes, and the rise of Islamism in the Middle East and Europe become self-evident, we shall see if the Jews can awaken in time to prevent the destruction of Israel and another Holocaust.

George says:

“the real agenda of all arabs is to dismantle the nation of Israel” If you truly believe this, then I can understand how it must enrage you for others to think of Palestinians in human terms.’

Jeremy, boychik, ‘rage’ doesn’t even begin to enter the equation. I’ve lived long enough to have witnessed the incredible, ongoing disconnect of the Liberal-Left on the Israel-arab conflict. At this somewhat advanced stage of Life, my reaction is one of amusement. Like watching a 10 month old trying to fit a square peg in a round hole over and over again. But the 10 month old eventually learns that square pegs don”t fit in round holes. It appears the unending stream of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish hate mongering emanating non-stop from all over the arab and Islamic world for close to a hundred years is still not enough to enlighten you that square pegs don’t fit in round holes.

Carrie says:

Who is Peter Beinart to tell Israeli Jews what to do for their own security? Let Beinart live in Israel and face the consequences of giving up land to the Palestinians and then- and only then-he can talk.

He would never do that. Instead he will live in the comfort of the Upper West Side and give orders to the Israelis. He will continue to bash Netanyahu who fought in an elite unit to protect Isreal. Beinart is a true coward among cowards.

Carrie says:

I also want to add that Beinart is such a coward that he shut off comments on his Zion Sq/Open Zion website. He knows he would have all the Israel haters agreeing with his articles. So much for the Beinart Army. He is even to the left of JStreet.

jake says:

I call Arafat’s role in the second intifada “a crime”.

A “crime”?!?!?!
I nearly lost my shit when I read that.
Is that the best you do? A crime? How many deaths occured on both sides due to this “crime”?
And quoting the UNRWA also is such a joke.

I really had no idea who you were before this week, and now I know why.

Steve Cohen says:

Peter Beinart states, ‘He (Stephens) must think I’m an idiot’. That’s very astute Peter. Yes, Bret Stephens thinks you’re an idiot. Not only an idiot, but a dishonest, lying, biased idiot, as he amply demonstrated (you ‘misread’ – hahaha!).

And you know what? I think you’re an idiot too, and a self-hating Jew. Most Jews would agree. But, hey, I understand. You have this gig now, you’ll make the usual anti-Israel rounds, your articles will be on the Arab and neo-Nazi sites, and it should pay well. You’re another Finkelstein. However, the spirit of the Jewish people can never be extinguished. You’ll just join the long list of Jewish anti-Semites, but we’ll move on and grow. Bye bye!

Michael says:

I like how you all say that unless you live in Israel, you can’t possibly tell Israel what is best for them. Well, let me spin this for you. If you don’t give the Palestinians independence, you can’t possibly say what they’ll do with their new country.

Jehudah Ben-Israel says:

“I like how you all say that unless you live in Israel, you can’t possibly tell Israel what is best for them. Well, let me spin this for you. If you don’t give the Palestinians independence, you can’t possibly say what they’ll do with their new country”.

Two points:

1) Indeed, not residing in Israel, one doesn’t know what life is like there, and certainly has little basis on which to demand of Israelis how to govern their affairs.

2) The “Palestinians” – a term that came into being in modern time only in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and only for political expediency of course – refer to the Arabs of “Palestine”; “Palestine” being a territory, not a nationality or a state of course.

But, you see, “Palestine” was partitioned between Arabs and Jews back in 1921 and 1922. It was in 1921 that 77% of “Palestine” was handed over to the Arabs, located east of the Jordan River. The Arabs subsequently changed the name of their part to Jordan since “Palestine” is not an Arab term.

In 1922 the rest, 23% of “Palestine”, was assigned to the Jews, located between the Jordan River and the Med. Sea. The Jews, subsequently, renamed their part of “Palestine” Israel since “Palestine” is not a Jewish term either.

This act of partition was made by the League of Nations that preceded the United Nations. The United Nations, however, adopted the decisions of the League of Nations in this regard and enshrined them in the UN Charter, Article 80, as an irrevocable part of international law.

The “Palestinians”, in other words, have had their independent state for some time, yet their various Charters, e.g. Fatah, Hamas, PFLP, IslamicJihad, PLO, continue to demand Israel’s demise.

Should the poster really think Israelis simply need to give more of the 23% assigned to them by the international community and just see what happens…??

Jehudah Ben-Israel says:

P.S. One only wishes Mr. Beinart knew enough of Jewish history, the history of Eretz Israel (Land of Israel), and the history of the Arab Israeli conflict before he submitted to publication this piece of elegantly written trash that is nothing but a literary spewing of venom at a country, people and situations about which he knows little. This, sadly, is not they way to bring back to the American Jewish community the education about the history of the Jewish people and this people national liberation movement, Zionism, and its achievements; something that is obviously so missing in America.

Michael says:

Jehuda, you seem to forget a few things like the UN plan in 1947 which gave half the land to the Arabs. You also seem to forget things like the Green Line, which is an internationally recognized border between Israel and the Occupied Territories, in this case the West Bank. Now, when you have a Palestinian state whose capital is either right on the border (East Jerusalem) or just a few miles away from the Israeli border (Ramallah), and is 100% surrounded by Israel and an Israeli ally (Jordan), you can bet that they’ll fall in line real quick.

Also, since America has had a Jewish history tracing back 350 years, and since the US had the most Jews in the world from 1945 to about last year, I think we know plenty about Jewish history. However, we, and Jews in Europe, tend to view Judaism as a religion and a culture, and we view our home nations as our nationalities. I am Jewish, and I am American. I am not Israeli and I will never be.

Jehudah Ben-Israel says:


1. The UN General Assembly resolution, 181, of 29 Nov 1947 was, by definition, a recommendation; it was not then and it is not now part of international law.

2. The “Green Line” has always been, legally, simply an armistice line, never an international border.

3. A “Palestinian state” already exists, it is simply called Jordan, and its capital city is Amman. Jerusalem has never been the capital city of any other people or any other state throughout recorded history but that of the Jewish people and its ancient kingdom as well as its modern nation-state of Israel. Demanding that Jerusalem be a capital city of another sovereign state is akin to demanding the Washington, DC be the capital city of Mexico.

4. Knowledge of Jewish history is not acquired by how many Jews exist in a particular geographic area. Reality is that the vast majority of American Jews know little about the 4,000 years of Jewish history, and even less so about the history of the national homeland of the Jewish people, Eretz Israel (Land of Israel). Indeed, for many young Jews in America even the Six-Day War is like ancient history, not realizing that this was that was initiated by a coalition of three Arab states resulted in Israel’s capturing the now disputed territories. Sadly, Mr. Beinhart is a product of this “education” and this book is part of the shameful result.

Jehudah Ben-Israel says:

P.S. “I am Jewish, and I am American. I am not Israeli and I will never be”.

Therefore, the question: So, on which basis should the poster, and like minded people, empower himself to tell the Jews in Israel how to conduct their affairs? Isn’t it more than a bit arrogant to do so…??!!

Michael says:

I tell you how to conduct your affairs because it is starting to affect the rest of us. When Israel keeps yelling about how you’re the jewish state, people start equating your actions with the actions of Jews everywhere. Because of YOUR actions, Jews in Toulouse and Paris and Amsterdam and London and Malmo and Seattle and Buenos Aires are paying the penalty. So yes, we will tell you to straighten your act.

For Zlota says:

Appeasing terrorist demands ? Seriously?

Jehudah Ben-Israel says:

“I tell you how to conduct your affairs because it is starting to affect the rest of us”.

Be part of Israel, and only then will you be able to take an active public discussion in the liberal democratic sovereign nation-state of the Jewish people; to elect and be elected to Israel’s various branches of government, and in the process also be one of Israel military defenders. But, to expect fellow Jews to die for the sake of your comfort in of mind is a bit arrogant and no Israel Jew, and few Jews outside of Israel, minus Mr. Beinart will agree with you.

“When Israel keeps yelling about how you’re the jewish state, people start equating your actions with the actions of Jews everywhere”.

So, the poster is ready to bow down to ignorance and accept that which ignorant people say, only to appear “politically correct” in the eyes of others? That reminds one of dark days of Jewish history, if the poster only knew which days I am writing about…!!

“Because of YOUR actions, Jews in Toulouse and Paris and Amsterdam and London and Malmo and Seattle and Buenos Aires are paying the penalty. So yes, we will tell you to straighten your act”.

This accusation that anti-Jewish racism exists in its ugliest form in various parts of the world, including the US incidentally, reminds one of the woman who was gang-rapped in Central Park, NY and after she was bitten brutally by her attackers. And, when brought to court, the thugs who rapped and attacked her claimed for their defense that her skirt was too short, just above her knees, thus they couldn’t help themselves but rapping her.

Aren’t you, if you are Jewish, ashamed to even bring such arguments to the fore in a Jewish publication…??!!

Jehudah Ben-Israel says:

P.S. I am a bit surprised why the poster doesn’t call, directly, for the dismantlement of Israel. Wouldn’t such a call be more of an expression of intellectual honesty on the part of the poster…?? Surely, this what the poster would hope to see, wouldn’t he…??

Jehudah Ben-Israel says:

A reminder: Zionism.

Zionism is first and foremost the affinity of the Jewish people as a people, and that of each member of the people, to Zion, also known as Jerusalem. This strong affinity has been in existence ever since the Jewish king, King David, set up Zion/Jerusalem more than 3,000 years ago as the spiritual and the administrative center of the Jewish kingdom, and has included the city of Jerusalem as well as the country at the center of which Zion is located.

In the 19th century, Zionism has taken an added dimension: 1) The ingathering of those Jews not residing in Eretz Israel (Land of Israel) back home. 2) The re-instituting of Jewish sovereignty in Eretz Israel. 3) The re-vitalizing the civilization of the Jewish people, Judaism.

The above three goals were to be achieved peacefully through the use of the powers and the laws that are, and with as much cooperation of the local non-Jewish population. In this sense, Zionism has transformed itself into the non-violent (not pacifist, mind you!!) national liberation movement of the Jewish people.

Zionism has indeed achieved the in-gathering of most Jews back to the Jewish people’s homeland of Eretz Israel. It has succeeded in the re-establishment of Jewish sovereignty in the Jewish people’s homeland whose character is not only the nation-state of the Jewish people but also a liberal democratic one. And, it has managed to make a great contribution to the revitalizing of Jewish civilization, and first and foremost element of it has been the reviving of the Jewish national language, Hebrew, as the daily spoken language of millions of Jews, and the language of journalism, literature and research.

If anything, we, Jews, should celebrate the achievements of Zionism, and in the process, enlist to enhance its achievements.

Daniel Miller says:

It is relevant to cite Stephens’ bona fides on some of these issues. At the time he was editor of THE JERUSALEM POST, he began dating one of the employees of the paper.

She was a Christian who was undergoing conversion. She wanted to become a religious Jew living in Israel. Stephens did not want her to complete this conversion. It was “too Jewish” for him. He convinced her to terminate it. Then the two of them left Israel and married in the United States. I wonder if it was a “church wedding.” Such a good Zionist and good Jew Stephens is.

Michael says:

Jehudah, there is a serious difference between telling you to stop killing and oppressing people, and telling you to go away permanently. If you didn’t have hundreds of roadblocks between Palestinian cities in the West Bank, Israel would still exist. If you allowed construction materials into Gaza to rebuild what you blew up, Israel would still exist. If you stopped building settlements and burning Palestinian olive groves, and lighting fires in mosques every time one of your settlements gets removed, Israel would still exist.

When Mohammed Merah says that he attacks Jewish schools for YOUR actions, then it is partly YOUR fault. When Muslims who are fresh off the boat in the Netherlands, France, Sweden, Britain, and Norway attack Jews, I’m willing to bet it is partially YOUR fault for what YOUR country does to Arabs. It’s mainly their fault for not being able to tell the difference between Israelis and Jews, and it’s mostly their fault for turning to violence and barbarism, but YOU should never act the way you do that turns these people down their path. You are supposed to be the democratic state in the middle east. You were born from one of the most brutal acts of genocide in history, and you were supposed to be a place that was free from racism and hatred. When a crowd leaves a soccer game and goes to attack Arab workers in a mall, that’s a problem. When your head politicians insult the over 1 million Israeli Muslims and accuse them of treachery, solely because they are Muslim, that’s a problem. Face it, there is only one perfect nation on Earth, and that is the United States, not you. Do not be so blind that you cannot solve the problems that your nation has, whether you acknowledge them or not.

George says:

Michael, congrats of winning the Biggest Moron award for dumbest comment in this thread. Moslems don’t need any more justification for murdering Jews than what they have learned from their religion and clerics. What exactly did Jews do to deserve the genocidal massacres which they regularly endured living in moslem nations from the time of Mohammed onward? Listen, moron, moslems don’t need an excuse to murder Jews. They only have to refer to their Koran and see that it pleases Allah. A message that is reinforced thousands of times daily all over the islamic world.

LLM, Z Street says:

More JBI deceit and hypocrisy, courtesy of his ZOA talking points…

JBI chastises poster Michael for empowering himself to “…tell the Jews in Israel how to conduct their affairs. Isn’t it more than a bit arrogant to do so…??!!”

Yet JBI, who is not an American, has presumed, in his FORWARD posts, to empower himself to dictate to American Jews what they should think- and therefore vote- regarding President Obama.

Then there is the JBI ‘birther’ lie about “relationships between Richard (Muhammad) Goldstone and Mr. Peter (Abbas) Beinart? Both are ORIGINALLY from South Africa, but is this the only connection between the two…??” Beinart-and Bruce Springsteen but not JBI- was born in the USA, although Beinart’s parents emigrated to America from South Africa. Mort Klein- JBI’s Supreme Leader- on the other hand, was born in Germany, which explains his heavy-handed rule of the ZOA.
Remember: the ZOA calls for a ‘one-state’ solution, as in: get rid of all the Arabs in the West Bank, since they have no right in the Jewish Holy Land. (Just like the Nazis argued that only pure-bred, heterosexual Aryans deserved in live in the Fatherland: this is the German influence on Klein.) The one-state solution is Klein/JBI’s real agenda.

Lastly: does the “ben” in Ben-Israel, in JBI’s case, stand NOT for ‘son of’ but, perchance, for Benedict, as in Benedict Arnold? That would explain his idolization of Jonathan Pollard.

Rebecca says:

You’re a disgusting person and I hope (and believe) that you’ll get yours in the afterlife.
I won’t answer your sick accusations
but I’ll ask just this one question:
If the animal from Toulouse said that he killed those kids because the Middle East is an Islamic land and infidels shoudn’t be there, whould you still say that Israel has some responsibilty to the murders?

Shalom Freedman says:

I should have said the following. I don’t believe Beinart answered the substantive points that Bret Stephens made.
I again would like to underline that I find it wholly offensive that a person who has done nothing and risked nothing and given nothing to Israel should recommend boycotting people who do live in and do serve and do in many cases sacrifice, and risk their lives for Israel.

Daniel Miller says:

If one accepts Shalom Freedman’s position, then all those many right wing hawks living in the safety and comfort of the U.S. should not say one word about “the situation.” What right do they have to work against a peace agreement? What right do they have to urge Israel to continue its oppression, racism and anti-democracy when it only serves to isolate Israel further internationally? As Yossi Sarid says, these right wing Americans “all fight to the last drop of my blood.”

Daniel Teeboom says:

It’s very simple Peter:

The people best equipped to decide what Israel should do are the Israeli people themselves. They live in the Middle East, they know their neighbors best, they are the ones risking their future. They are the ones who need to pay the price for any mistakes.

If you don’t like where Israelis are taking their country, if you believe after everything they went through their response is wrong, then make Aliah and run for office. Start your own party, see how well your message holds up to reality.

Michael says:

Well Rebecca, I would say that you are a disgusting person for wishing eternal pain and torture on a person for their beliefs. I personally believe that God loves those who stand up to the oppressors on the behalf of the oppressed. Also, if it was a french person who killed Israelis simply because they existed, then no, I would not say that Israel had any fault in the situation. But that is not the situation. The situation is that Israel continues to oppress the Palestinians in the West Bank.

Also, George, let me spout out some quotes from the “Jew hating” Quran for you.

“Those who believe in the Qur’an, and those who follow the Jewish scriptures, and the Christians and the Sabians, any who believe in God and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.”
Quran 2:62

“Not all of them are alike: Of the People of the Book (the Jews and Christians) are a portion that stand for the right: They rehearse the Signs of God all night long, and they prostrate themselves in adoration.
They believe in God and the Last Day; they enjoin what is right, and forbid what is wrong; and they hasten in emulation in all good works. They are in the ranks of the righteous. Of the good that they do, nothing will be rejected of them; for God knoweth well those that do right.”
Quran 3:113

“And there are, certainly, among the People of the Book (the Jews and Christians), those who believe in God, in the revelation given to you, and in the revelation given to them, bowing in humility to God: They will not sell the Signs of God for a miserable gain! For them is a reward with their Lord, and God is swift in account.”
Quran 3:199

Louis Abolafia says:

When analyzing Islamic teaching and traditions about the Jews, one gets a very cold feeling that the only destiny that Islam has marked out for the Jews is that of an absolute and total slaughter. We see in the Islamic traditions a dark and very persistent hatred for the Jews nearly identical to the ideology expressed through Naziism. This ideology of hatred is fully supported and nurtured throughout the Quran and the Islamic traditions. For instance, speaking of Jews, the Quran says:

Amongst them we (Allah) have placed enmity and hatred till the Day of Judgment. Every time they kindle the fire of war, Allah doth extinguish it; but they (ever) strive to do mischief on earth. And Allah loveth not those who do mischief. -Surah 5:64

This verse makes it clear that there will be “enmity and hatred” against the Jews until the very end of the present age. So much for those who claim that the Quran’s scorn for Jews is limited only to specific historical incidences in Muhammad’s career. Not only does the Quran portray Jews as those who start wars and cause general mischief in the earth, but it also literally claims that Allah was so disgusted by the Jews, that he cursed them and literally transformed many of them into “apes and swine,” assigning them the lowest “rank” among humankind:

When in their insolence they transgressed (all) prohibitions, We said to them: “Be ye apes, despised and rejected.” -Surah 7:166

Those who incurred the curse of Allah and His wrath, those of whom some He transformed into apes and swine, those who worshipped evil;- these are (many times) worse in rank, and far more astray from the even path! -Surah 5:60

And well ye knew those amongst you who transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath: We said to them: “Be ye apes, despised and rejected.” -Surah 2:65

Believers, take neither the Jews nor the Christians for your friends. (5:51)

You will find that the most implacable of men in their enmity to the faithful are the Jews

Louis Abolafia says:

You will find that the most implacable of men in their enmity to the faithful are the Jews and pagans. (5:82)

Had the People of the Book [Jews and Christians] accepted the Faith, it would surely have been better for them. Some are true believers, but most of them are evil-doers. (3:111)

Among the more anti-Semitic and vocal Muslims, these verses have become absolute favorites. Walid Shoebat is a former Muslim who grew up in the Palestinian territories. Recalling being taken on a school trip to the Jerusalem zoo as a child, Walid relates, “The Islamic teacher would tell us, ‘this gorilla was originally a Jew.’ I look at this now and I think, this is what Naziism teaches – in its worst form. This is being taught throughout the entire Middle East.”1 Just as the Nazis declared that Jews were subhuman “vermin” in order to justify their inhumane treatment of the Jews, so has the Muslim world followed the lead of the Quran in dehumanizing the Jewish race.

Now, at this point, the enterprising Muslim apologist will be quick to argue that while there are many verses in the Quran that speak of the Jews in such a negative manner, there are also other verses that speak of the Jews in a positive manner as well. While this is true it is also highly misleading. In his highly informative book, Islam and the Jews, Mark A. Gabriel, Ph. D, a former Muslim Imam and Professor of Islamic history at the prestigious Al-Azhar University in Cairo, addresses this misunderstanding of Islam’s disposition toward the Jews. Gabriel explains that according to Islamic theology, those verses in the Quran that appear to be “nice” towards the Jews are understood to be cancelled out (mansookh) by the verses that were revealed to Muhammad later in his “prophetic” career. This is based on the idea of progressive revelation in Islam whereby if you have any verses that seem to contradict one another, the newer revelations given to Muhammad negate or cancel out the older revelations. This

Louis Abolafia says:

This is based on the idea of progressive revelation in Islam whereby if you have any verses that seem to contradict one another, the newer revelations given to Muhammad negate or cancel out the older revelations. This is an established and well-understood doctrine in Islam called nasik. 2 Many Qurans even include a chart in the back that lists which verses are older and which are newer in order to know which verses are cancelled out and which verses remain. Because the verses which are inflammatory and aggressive toward the Jews are newer verses, they cancel out any that might have a more conciliatory tone. This understanding is well-known throughout the Islamic world.

As we trace the growth and development of anti-Semitism in Islam, we see that unfortunately, it is not limited to the Quran, but rather seems to find an even fuller expression in the infamous Hadith about the final slaughter of the Jews. We have already quoted this tradition more than once, but shall quote it again here one last time:

(Muhammad said:) The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews. (emphasis mine) 3

This apocalyptic belief of a future battle against Israel and the murder of all Jews is a deeply held belief among many Muslims. And we must remember that these anti-Semitic traditions and verses from the Quran are over a thousand years old. These sacred Islamic traditions of a final slaughter of all Jews cannot be attributed to the present day conflict with the State of Israel. As much as many today try to blame Muslim enmity toward Jews solely on Zionism and its alleged “Nazi-like” abuse of the victimized and oppressed Palestinians, it simply cannot be done in an honest and

Louis Abolafia says:

As much as many today try to blame Muslim enmity toward Jews solely on Zionism and its alleged “Nazi-like” abuse of the victimized and oppressed Palestinians, it simply cannot be done in an honest and informed manner. The enmity of Islam toward the Jews has existed since Islam’s inception. It is not a new phenomenon. And today Islam and the Muslim world is undeniably the single most anti-Semitic force on the earth. Palestinians in particular, use the anti-Semitic apocalyptic template as a basis for much of their actions toward Israel and the Jews today. Although this template is in fact one of the primary factors fueling the ongoing present conflict in Israel, it is also the most often overlooked factor by secular observers who attempt to judge the present conflict on the basis of a moral equivalency.

Michael says:

Most people do not follow the hate that is spewed in religious scriptures. The Tanakh has many verses against the polytheists and the uncircumcised, but Israeli tourists in India don’t go around killing Hindus, nor do European Jews kill their uncircumcised neighbors. The fact of the matter was that from 1000AD to the late 1700’s, Muslim lands were a whole lot better than most Christian lands to live in for Jews, and most Muslims did not harbor the same antisemitic sentiments that many Europeans held. The problems really came in the late 1800s, when two movements, Zionism and Arab Nationalism, began to clash in what was then Ottoman Palestine, and continued on to 1948. In other parts of the Muslim world, Jewish communities thrived. Hundreds of thousands of Jews lived in Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Iraq, Turkey, and Persia/Iran. It was only in 1948 that things started to get really bad for people in those nations, and while there were other factors (many Jews fled Algeria when it gained independence because they were French), the founding of Israel was certainly a major cause of collapse for the Jewish communities in those lands.

For Zlota says:

The Toulouse murder also killed Muslims, did they bring it on themselves too?

Michael says:

None of the Toulouse victims did anything to deserve what happened to them.

George says:

Michael, see what you have learned today.Those warm and friendly verses from the Koran are understood to be cancelled out by the newer ones. Not so warm and friendly.

For Zlota says:

Yes, but if the murder of Jews was justified as revenge against Israel, then is his murder of Muslims justified as revenge against something?

See if his actions murdering Jews mean that Israel needs to “straighten up” to prevent the murder of Jews, do Muslims need to ” straighten up” too?

But why should anyone heed the advice of a murderous psycho?

George says:


At various times, Jews in Muslim lands were able to live in relative peace and thrive culturally and economically. The position of the Jews was never secure, however, and changes in the political or social climate would often lead to persecution, violence and death. Jews were generally viewed with contempt by their Muslim neighbors; peaceful coexistence between the two groups involved the subordination and degradation of the Jews.

When Jews were perceived as having achieved too comfortable a position in Islamic society, anti-Semitism would surface, often with devastating results: On December 30, 1066, Joseph HaNagid, the Jewish vizier of Granada, Spain, was crucified by an Arab mob that proceeded to raze the Jewish quarter of the city and slaughter its 5,000 inhabitants. The riot was incited by Muslim preachers who had angrily objected to what they saw as inordinate Jewish political power.

Similarly, in 1465, Arab mobs in Fez slaughtered thousands of Jews, leaving only 11 alive, after a Jewish deputy vizier treated a Muslim woman in “an offensive manner.” The killings touched off a wave of similar massacres throughout Morocco.(6)

Other mass murders of Jews in Arab lands occurred in Morocco in the 8th century, where whole communities were wiped out by Muslim ruler Idris I; North Africa in the 12th century, where the Almohads either forcibly converted or decimated several communities; Libya in 1785, where Ali Burzi Pasha murdered hundreds of Jews; Algiers, where Jews were massacred in 1805, 1815 and 1830 and Marrakesh, Morocco, where more than 300 hundred Jews were murdered between 1864 and 1880.(7)

Decrees ordering the destruction of synagogues were enacted in Egypt and Syria (1014, 1293-4, 1301-2), Iraq (854-859, 1344) and Yemen (1676). Despite the Koran’s prohibition, Jews were forced to convert to Islam or face death in Yemen (1165 and 1678), Morocco (1275, 1465 and 1790-92) and Baghdad (1333 and 1344).(8)

Michael says:

No murder is ever justified. I never stated that the Toulouse massacre was justified, I simply stated that the Israeli treatment of Palestinians was one of the reasons why Mohammed Merah did it. Why would the killings of four French people, who had nothing to do with Israel, be justified as a reasonable action with regards to the conflict? And yes, if you read what I wrote, I said that most of the blame lies with the Muslims who commit these acts, so yes, they definitely need to straighten up too.

George says:


‘Decrees ordering the destruction of synagogues were enacted in Egypt and Syria (1014, 1293-4, 1301-2), Iraq (854-859, 1344) and Yemen (1676). Despite the Koran’s prohibition, Jews were forced to convert to Islam or face death in Yemen (1165 and 1678), Morocco (1275, 1465 and 1790-92) and Baghdad (1333 and 1344).(8)

As distinguished Orientalist G.E. von Grunebaum has written:

It would not be difficult to put together the names of a very sizeable number of Jewish subjects or citizens of the Islamic area who have attained to high rank, to power, to great financial influence, to significant and recognized intellectual attainment; and the same could be done for Christians. But it would again not be difficult to compile a lengthy list of persecutions, arbitrary confiscations, attempted forced conversions, or pogroms.(9)’

Moshe Blei says:

Peter and like-Peter: Love it or leave Israel alone. Stay in your salons and magazines and write about whatever but don’t preach morals to Israel.

For Zlota says:

Supporting the idea that Toulouse murderer had “reasons” does seem like some sort of crisis.

Jenny says:

When you call Aaron David Miller and Martin Indyk ‘established centrists’ one can see that you have not only left the reservation, but are detached from political reality!!! None in their right (forgive the pun) mind would characterize them thus, other than someone wishing to bolster their disingenuous arguments disingenuously!

Jenny says:

Oh… and another of his heroes: ‘esteemed historian Van Creveld he who said in 2004, ‘Had the Iranians not tried to build nuclear weapons, they would be crazy’ and whom in 2005, made headlines when he said in an interview that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was “the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 BC [sic] with harsh criticism of the Bush Administration, saying that “Bush deserves to be impeached and, once he has been removed from office, put on trial.” Nice supporters you invoke Mr Beinart!!! Nice!!

Carrie says:

Michael is a very sick individual with his accusation that Israel is the cause of Islamist terror against Jews across the world.

Yehuda Riemer says:

Good on you’ Peter. I knew you could handle him.
Yehuda Riemer
Kibbutz Urim, Negev

Amiel Ungar says:

The problem with Beinart’s sources is their selectivity. It would be the equivalent of someone constructing a history of the United States based on the writings of Noam Chomsky, Ramsey Clark and Staunton Lynde or to be fair a history of the Obama administration based on writers for Commentary. All the authors Beinart quoted are firmly on the political left. Tom Segev for many years had a column in Haaretz called Katav Zar “foreign correspondent” a double entendre to emphasize that he was not part of us. Segev is nostalgic for the good government of the British mandate.

R. Heinemann says:


In light of Jehuda ben-Israel’s history of chronic untruthfulness, and flagrant public disrespect for the Holy Days and other sancta of the Jewish people, the Beit Din has declared him
PASUL Li-MINYAN (disqualified from counting in a ritual quorum) and PASUL Li-EDUT (disqualfied from giving testimony in a religious court).
He is hereby called upon to do tshuvah, or face further measures.

Lou Adams says:

I am not sure if Michael is a well meaning leftist who only gets information from anti Israel propaganda sites or is a Jew baiter looking to fools the unknowing who might be foolish enough to buy into his false hopes over his knowledge.
What I do know is that believing things would all get better if only Israel________ fill in the blank is a fraud that requires the believer to have no knowledge of either the historic background of ME or of the Muslim culture and it’s history and beliefs. They don’t seem to be able to process the infinite number of anti Israel anti Semitic statements that come from Muslim leaders, clerics and media and find their beliefs supersede the reality that many of us continue attempt to communicate to them. It’s as if their beliefs don’t allow them to notice their perspective is not the reality that Israel and Jews are facing. JBI clearly is attempting to educate the believers that they are missing the while picture.

Josh Melton says:

Who can take Beinart seriously anymore? What a fraud he is. According to the World Food Programme, ‘food insecure’ does not simply mean people ‘lack access to sufficient food to meet their needs’, as Beinart misleadingly claims. Rather, it is an ECONOMIC measurement that ‘considers only the problem of economic access to food and essential non-food items resulting from the lack of income-earning possibilities of Palestinian households.’ It specifically does NOT include food availability and food consumption,rather WFP states in 2010 ‘Food is generally supplied in sufficient quantities and with acceptable varieties, generally from imports.’

When caught in a lie about his citations re Gaza, he now falls back on a ‘2011 World Food Programme report’. He doesn’t cite which one in this column. You know why? Because it’s the Q2 2011 report. But the Q3 2011 report has been available for months. And in it one finds that Gaza GDP grew by 6% since the prior quarter and 31% year over year, unemployment has declined to 28% from 31%, that all manner of food is abundantly available such that illegal tunnel shipping charges have plummeted, and food prices have declined! This is very important because the so-called definition of ‘food insecure’ is an ECONOMIC one, as described above, and declined notably as well since Q2. Beinart’s outrageous Goldstonian libel of ‘brutal suffering’ based on this definition is such a transparent fraud to buttress his hatred of Israel, as Bret Stephens correctly described, that one can’t take this opportunistic Beinart seriously. How would Beinart describe true ‘brutal suffering’ in eg Africa?

Others correctly pointed out other nonsense in this rebuttal column (eg Gross and Indyk are only centrists in a radical leftist’s warped mind) but he also claims ‘I didn’t read it(The Israel Lobby) as part of my research for this book’. But he has previously read it and the fact remains that he parrots and sympathizes with that anti-Semitic tract throughout.

N. Friedman says:

What if, Mr. Beinart, the Israelis made the peace offer you would prefer but the Palestinians refuse it? What then?

The goal ought not be to satisfy Palestinian demands but to reach a compromise. The problem here is that there is no compromise and blaming the Israelis for recognizing reality and American Jews for not demanding that the Israelis negotiate against themselves is, to me, crazy.

Also crazy is the notion of a crisis among American Jews regarding Israel. I think that is a figment of your imagination. Young people always have ideas which differ from their parents only to face reality, which is that the actual prospects for a settlement are zil. And, if, as you pretend, you have read Benny Morris, you would know that he shows, rather clearly, in his book, One State, Two States, that there is rather little chance for a settlement.

So, stop beating up on the Israelis for not helping their enemies, confusing the settlement of land with the heart of the dispute – i.e., Jewish rule over Arabs, which is an anathema to most Arabs. And, that is not because rule by Jews is mean or nasty; it is because Arabs do not want to be ruled by Jews. And, they, for the most part, view land politically, as in being something belonging to their nation – as a trust given them by their deity.

These are not mere details; they go to the heart of the matter for both sides. And, wanting Americans to make demands upon the Israelis for not being more forthcoming when, in fact, it is pointless, is outrageous. Have you no shame?

I am Smarter than All of You says:

As per Marty Peretz, I’d really like to meet Peter Beinart’s mom. She sounds supportive and approving, which is more than I can say of most Jewish mothers.

Mel Farber, Silver Spring, MD says:

there is a term for Mr. Beinart’s opponents:

It was coined by ORTHODOX- as in: he observes more mitzvot in one day than you, collectively observe in a month, if not a year- Hebrew University professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz:

Former 972 Reader says:

To Mr. Beinart:

1. Young American Jews are becoming less connected to Israel not because of Israel and its actions but primarily because of people like you. You’re not merely a reporter, you are and represent those who unfairly vilify Israel to such a degree that in combination with Israel’s natural enemies you make it virtually impossible for anybody other than its strongest supporters to want to be affiliated or connected with Israel and its supporters.

2. Talking about Camp David as being insufficient is ridiculous because Israel returned to the negotiating table DURING THE PALESTINIAN WAR and offered Clinton Parameters plus at Taba. Look at Moratinos’ review of those negotiations and it is clear Israel offered a fair and just deal. The Palestinians, however, didn’t budge from their demands including full sovereignty with none for Jews at Temple Mount.

3. How does Israel prevent what happened in Gaza from what would happen in Judea and Samaria without any barrier between Jordan and a new Palestinian state? It can’t, just as it can’t prevent the ongoing transfer of weapons into Gaza.

4. Along with Taba, in 2008 Israel offered an even more generous deal to the Palestinians which was once again met with Palestinian refusal to budge on their demands. Considering they were getting about 97% of the land they claim they want (100% of Gaza and 95.5% of Judea and Samaria), reparations, capital in Jerusalem, full control over their holy places and the first-ever Palestinian state, how much more generous can and should Israel be? 97%!

The question here isn’t what the Israelis can and should do, it is that instead of people such as you applying pressure on the Palestinians to settle, they receive your blessing – yes, that’s what this attack on Israel’s supposed intransigence amounts to.

They can continue avoiding peace. After all, some sophisticated Jewish shill will attack Israel instead of them even as they deny his own Jewish connection to Jerusalem and Israel.

    mouskatel says:

    Why can’t I like this 20 times? Too bad Beinart will never actually listen, even if he reads this comment. I wish you could sky-write this over J-Street’s offices.

I’d just like to remind everyone who is reading this article, regardless of your politics or sympathies, to get a very simple and stark fact through their heads: there is no “one-state solution” that will end without millions of people dead. None. All of the other comments about settlements and refugees and Right and Left are the sideshow of that undeniable fact. So if anyone is OK with this truth, fine, and if you’re not…well, based on the state of things right how, I think the vast majority of the world is OK with that. And that’s horrifying.

For Zlota says:

Yeshayahu Leibowitz seems to have espoused an interesting interpretation of Judaism, which seems to revolve around and around an interesting, stringent interpretation of mitzvahs. As far as I can tell, he didn’t think mitzvahs should be in service to man.

But I don’t know whether he considered calling Jews judeo-nazis a mitzvah or not, because I don’t understand his views.

He also had many interesting opinions on many other topics, including the Holocaust, Reform Judaism, etc.

Curiously, if you google Yeshayahu Liebowitz you will see that his opinions fascinate neo-nazi type websites as well as the left.

Interesting that his Judeo-nazi comment is cited in reference to opponents of Beinart.

Former 972 Reader says:

@For Ziota,

“Interesting that his Judeo-nazi comment is cited in reference to opponents of Beinart.”

Not really. Beinart and those who share his views are in concert, wittingly and unwittingly, with people who truly hate Jews and, or, Zionists. These are people who tend to ascribe to Israel using hysterical, hyperbolic language such accusations, even as true crimes of other nations and people (including the Palestinians’) are ignored, that one can only sigh in sad amazement.

To make it easier for their readers, they use “apartheid,” “war crimes,” “Nazi-like” and other triggers to generate sympathy and lay further claim to their supposedly morally superior position. Not realizing, of course, that as they do this they actually undermine their own moral position.

For Zlota says:

Former 972,

That does seem to be a clear pattern.

I don’t understand how they don’t see it, or what it means if they do.

Great response to a really ugly ad hominem attack on the most important jewish writers and thinkers of this generation. Brett and his ilk are totally threatened by Peter.

Do you know who is loving this debate?

All of Israel’s enemies. Palestinian enemies (PLO, Hamas, the “human rights activists”, Islamic Jihad, etc) are loving this. Iranian enemies are loving this. All Arab and all Muslim enemies are loving this. All radical leftists are loving this.

Know why?

Because they know this fight isn’t about houses or towns built in land which Israel won in 1967. They know that this fight is about Israel’s mere existence. And they love that we don’t get that. They are fooling us and lying to us and we are buying into their honey words of peace.

This is why Beinart is wrong. He thinks its about Israel’s policies. In the end, one cannot get around the fact that Israel’s enemies do not object to its policies but, instead, its mere existence.

Rather, the only policy they take an issue with is Israel’s policy of existing.

We don’t have an Arab or Muslim problem. We have a Jewish problem and it starts with us not knowing who we are, so we get suckered to believe anything by the people who want us dead.

Very good AMD.

There is an old adage: two Jews, three opinions.

Jews love to analyze, argue, split hairs.

In a debate over the dinner table about the nature of the universe, that’s fine.

But in a fight to the death with an implacable enemy, it’s suicidal behavior.

The Jews are being hypnotized into paralysis and submission with a false morality play authored by those who recognize the Jewish fascination with morality but have no morality themselves.

The leftist Jews in America and Israel don’t see this.

George says:

Doc, you clearly don’t understand the meaning of ad hominem. A good introductory example would be your comment.

Rabbi Tony Jutner says:

Kudos to Beinart for calling for a boycott of the settlements. I, as leader of NewJudaism, call upon Beinart to publically proclaim what we all know. All cities on stolen Palestinian land are settlements, including the vaunted Tel Aviv. Therefore, all of stolen Palestine must be boycotted. J Street and Beinart must discard their schizophrenic philosophy, where part of them would like to discard the zionist project shmatta and some of them call for the antiquated 2 state solution. It is time to firmly reject zionism

George says:

‘Rabbi’ Tony Jutner….Lol! There have always been nutjobs in the Jewish community as in the world-at-large but ‘Only in America’ do we see the more extreme cases of derangement with a ‘rabbi’ preceding their name.

For Zlota says:

The “rabbi says” might possibly be a satirical post, but it’s hard to distinguish satire from anti-Zionism.

wendy orange says:

I did live among the Palestinians in the
West Bank and Gaza while working as a mideast correspondent for the great magazine “Tikkun.” What Peter was so horrifed about in that video of mr Jaber i’ve seen up close and personally for many years.

Does no one here read the great Uri Avenery, suscribe to the Other Israel, understand Ha’aretz’s Gideon Levy among others, read Danny Rubenstein who wrote “The People of Nowhere” or Amira Hass. I believe Peter Beinart is a voice of reason among the almost universal voice of journalists like myself who have been on the ground and witnessed directly Israel’s undue brutality, totally out of control or in no proportion.

This governent with Bibi, Leiberman et al is a complete disgrace to the Jewish tendency to be empathetic to the suffering of others. More, Beinart from USA is absolutely correct that Israel (this is not a quote from him) needs to be saved from herself in order to survive. All those who cherish Israel should give up the “my country right or wrong” and go and live there but of course now it’s hard to get to meet Palestinians and so i’m glad that in the nineties before and shortly after Rabin’s murder, I saw what was being done in our name. There is not a day when I don’t feel the Palestinian plight and wish for more trust and savvy from Israel’s paranoid leaders. We are not the victims this time but the victimizers and I speak as a woman who loved Israel so much that I made Aliyah. But trust me here, what has happened since Rabin was murdered is a murdering of hope. Best to you Peter B. You can read my book from 2000 “Coming Home to Jerusalem” and see that I’m the opposite of a self-hating Jew but one who just knows he is correct, accurate and is a necessary voice. These comments are so retro for the most part and that is beyond depressing.

    LouAdams says:

    your desire to find perfect love in your people has led you to be complicit in our murders. The child like idealism of believers made the perception of Russia into a paradise while in fact it was rotten fish   Lesson are not learned by many Jewish  idealist, they cannot even believe it when they themselves are cast aside or killed by some circumstances; for in their ideals in their mind the real word is a filtered play to prove their righteousness and the wrongness of those who are not deluded by fairy tales and false hope.  Your self importance and self righteousness are blind spots, allowing you to betray those who you really should want to help.

I always love it when “journalists” refer to being “on the ground” and witnessing “Israel’s undue brutality”.

Have you been to the scene of any of the bus bombings? You know, before the Zaka volunteers arrive to scrape the body parts off the curb?

Did you make a shiva call to the surviving members of the Fogel family?

Have you visited the Palestinian exhibit celebrating the Sbarro’s pizza bombing with colorful replicas of blood on the walls?

Or certainly, you’ve enjoyed the sweets in the streets the Pals hand out when they successfully slice the throat of a Jewish child.

You and your ilk (like the grotesque corpulent fake rabbi you worked for at Tikkun) are as sick as the Palestinians. No, actually far more so because you have the benefit of having grown up in a civilized society and can understand how depraved are those who choose murder and mayhem over co-existence.

But I’m quite certain you blame that Palestinian pathology on the Israelis as well and their “paranoid leaders”.

Josh Melton says:

Wendy Orange, you are a has been and a disgraceful lying Jewish anti-Semite, always have been and always will be. Talk about retro – haha!

Peter Beinart, I hope you are proud of the company you keep – Orange, Lerner, Avnery, Levy, Hass. What a joke – a sad one, though.

Wendy Orange: in case you didn’t notice this is a war and one where our enemy aims to kill us. Over the last 100 years the Arabs have tried everything they could to kill us but have failed. They still try to this day and your misplaced sympathy aids them.

You do understand what would happen to us if the Arabs were in charge, right? Or if they won a war? Now snap out of it!

What part of the Right of Return do you not understand? What part of “From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will Be Free” do you not get?

Take pride in being Jewish, don’t make apologies for being a Jew living in Eretz Yisrael. This is our land. This is our nation. We have RETURNED BACK HOME and are not leaving, and the world needs to get used to that fact. Don’t ever confuse Judaism with modern notions of secular humanism or whatever it is you think Judaism is. And don’t ever confuse friend with enemy.

With Pesach coming up, I ask you to think deeply about what this holiday really means. Just like you feel you need to give tough love, this is me giving you tough love as a fellow Jew. I pray that one day HaShem will wake you up out of your slumber and ignite your neshama. You’ll wonder why you ever wept over people who would slit your throat simply for being a Jew.

Chag Sameach! something for everyone to watch and consider:

Had a couple other thoughts. You do know that the Arabs – Palestinian or otherwise – consider every Jewish house a settlement, right? That includes your house, Wendy Orange. And it includes every trendy apartment in Tel Aviv. And the homes of Peace Now activists. And it includes Migron. And it includes Hebron homes. Think about that for a little while and let it sink in.

Also, you want to know what’s retro? The Jewish people back in the Land of Israel. Now THAT’S retro.

Chag Sameach! May you have a beautiful Pesach and may we all merit to spend it together…Next Year in Yerushalyaim!


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Peter Beinart Responds

The author of the The Crisis of Zionism strikes back at criticism of his controversial new book about Israel and American Jews